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The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

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A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend.

Director:

Marielle Heller

Writers:

Phoebe Gloeckner (novel), Marielle Heller (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,241 ( 535)
16 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bel Powley ... Minnie
Willie Willie ... Domino the Cat
Kristen Wiig ... Charlotte
Abby Wait ... Gretel (as Abigail Wait)
Alexander Skarsgård ... Monroe
Miranda Bailey ... Andrea
Carson Mell ... Michael Cocaine
John Parsons ... Burt
Madeleine Waters ... Kimmie
Austin Lyon ... Ricky Wasserman
Quinn Nagle ... Chuck
Davy Clements Davy Clements ... Arnie
Charles Lewis III Charles Lewis III ... Cool English Teacher
David Fine ... Old Hippie
Susannah Rogers Susannah Rogers ... Aline Kominsky (voice) (as Susannah Schulman)
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Storyline

A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity, drug use, language and drinking-all involving teens. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 August 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Diary of a Teenage Girl See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,334, 9 August 2015

Gross USA:

$1,477,002

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,775,133
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bel Powley's American agent sent her the script and she loved it so much that she sent an unorthodox audition tape: she was doing a scene in Minnie's bed, so she shot it in bed, in her underwear. And then added a separate little bit to the end of the tape talking directly to the camera, talking to Marielle Heller [the director] basically saying how much this film resonated with her, how much it would mean. Heller and Powley Skyped, got on well, and then Powley flew out to New York and met with Alexander Skarsgård. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Minnie: I had sex today... Holy shit.
See more »

Connections

Featured in MsMojo: Top 10 Teen Movies of the 2010s (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Dreamsong
Written by Nate Heller & Emily Heller
Performed by Nate Heller feat. Amber Coffman
Additional instrumental contribution (Trombone) by Reni Lane
Amber Coffman appears courtesy of Columbia Records, A division of Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A film that's sadly uncommon in America (which is also makes it a film you need to see)
31 August 2015 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

"The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is a film that shouldn't be as uncommon as it is for American cinema. It's a seriously contemplative and revealing drama about a young woman lost and confused about her sexual identity upon committing one of society's most serious taboos and realizing that she liked it and might want to try it again. And again. And enough times to keep an audio diary of her thoughts and experiences about said act.

I'll catch you up; set in 1970's San Francisco, Minnie (Bel Powley), a fifteen-year-old girl and aspiring cartoonist, experiences her sexual awakening after losing her virginity to her mother's sorta-boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). Minnie considers herself overweight and undesirable in every sense, and is largely neglected by her Bohemian mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig), who is usually too busy smoking weed or doing drugs with strangers to even notice her daughter, so this awakening comes as an immense shock to Minnie and her person.

Minnie begins to crave more sex and attention from Monroe, going as far as to make intimate sex with him a regular thing, in addition to craving sex from strangers and other boys her age, all under her mother's nose. This sex drive, however, is deeper than horniness, but a cry by Minnie for companionship, desire, and, most of all, love. Minnie wants to be the apple of someone's eye, so much so that when she leaves, the person feels like they'll die without her company and security.

I've long had the same hunger Minnie has had, though I've been fortunate, as a male, to see roughly two or three coming of age films that accurately reflect my emotions, my desires, and my sexual awakening. Young girls and stories of their sexual awakening have been cruelly shortchanged in American film and "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" takes note of that just by existing. Consider scenes when Monroe and Minnie have sex, makeout with one another, or Minnie describes past sexual advances to her best friend. If these scenes made you at all uncomfortable, uneasy, or awkward (like they did me), then writer and directress Marielle Heller has effectively proved that fact without even saying it. Now switch the genders of the two main characters, think about the situation over again, and see if you feel that same level of discomfort.

Heller unapologetically details Minnie's desires in a way that, while revealing, is whimsical, thanks to the presence of Minnie's drawings springing to life before her eyes. However, this occasional distraction is offset by Heller's honest depiction of Minnie and, most importantly, the rawer scenes of the film, like when we see Minnie stand naked before a mirror as she examines her body and voices her desire to be loved and cherished. It's something I'm sure most young girls have done at least a few times in their life; standing before a mirror entirely exposed and hoping someone will love you for all of you rather than just parts of you. It's the basic level of human feeling, and Minnie has discovered it and craves it much quicker than any of her friends have.

Bel Powley is a force on-screen here, positioning herself not as a fabled caricature but an empowering everygirl that transcends beyond the confines of a typical teenage girl into somebody many can relate to. It also helps that Powley, herself, is such a great screen presence, confident even when her character is insecure, and encapsulated in a bubble that teeters between innocence and the loss of innocence.

"The Diary of a Teenage Girl" could easily be paired with "Turn Me On, Goddammit!," a Norwegian coming of age drama about a girl relatively the same age as Minnie, who becomes entranced with masturbation and sexual pleasure so much so that it takes over her life. Truly impacting and significant coming of age stories for young girls are depressingly few and far between and here is a film that boldly asserts itself by silently calling audiences out on its double standards for young women, focusing on a relatable protagonist throughout the film, giving us artful direction and attractive aesthetics not as a means to sugarcoat but to humanize, and concluding the picture with an ending that, while unfortunately fairly radical for American cinema, hits as hard as some of the best endings of films this year.


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